May 28, 2012

Delhi hosts 1st Train the Trainer event of Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA basketball development program‏me

NBA PRESS RELEASE: The NBA hosted the first Train the Trainer programme at Delhi Public School (RK Puram) from Sunday, May 27th, with some of the top coaches from Delhi being part of the training session. This was the first event of the 2012 Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA basketball development programme which will be held across five Indian cities this year.

The two day programme featured on-court clinics and classroom sessions aiming to provide the coaches with additional training skills for the development of players from a skills and fitness perspective. NBA India's officials Troy Justice and Eban Hyams helped lead the sessions.

The sessions also featured the NBA’s first-ever Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA India-focused training video. The 75 minute DVD, shot in India with local players, including videos illustrating fundamental skill development, advanced offensive moves, and fitness training. Each coach attending the ‘Train the Trainer’ session received a copy of the DVD.

The attending coaches were also informed of the dedicated Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA microsite on that will provide all coaches and physical education instructors access to videos, photos and other materials to reinforce proper training technique.

The Train the Trainer programme will also be held in Chennai, Mumbai, Pune and Chandigarh.

May 27, 2012

Conference Finals Preview: What's Your Legacy?

The chapters of NBA history will have a special place for the winner of 2012 title. For the four remaining teams, the next few weeks could completely twist, enhance, or destroy their stories in the history books. And in the end, who will ultimately be remembered the most?

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May 24, 2012

63rd Junior National Basketball Championship tips off in Puducherry

Next is now! There has been a lot of promise of the upcoming basketball talent of India, and of the players who will help the sport ascend to a higher level in the future. There is no better time to catch that talent than the 2012 Junior (under 18) Nationals: On May 23, the 63rd Junior National Basketball Championship for Boys & Girls tipped off at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium in the southern province of Puducherry.

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May 21, 2012

NBA to launch 2012 Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA programme in India

NBA Press Release: The National Basketball Association (NBA), in collaboration with HP and Basketball Federation of India (BFI), announced that it will launch the 2012 Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA basketball development programme in India on May 26, 2012. The programme will reach approximately 10,000 students and 800 coaches in five cities and marks an important step in incorporating basketball into the regular sports routine of Indian youth at the school level.

The program will visit Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune and Chandigarh, and will culminate with the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Skills Challenge National Finals in Delhi on July 14-15. This marks the NBA’s first program in Chandigarh, showcasing the league’s commitment to growing basketball across the country. The NBA has now implemented sustainable grassroots programs in seven cities in India.

BFI and HP will support the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA program and enhance the experience for Indian youth throughout the event.

The 2012 Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA program will tip-off with a two-day ‘Train the Trainer’ programme in each city led by NBA coaches. ‘Train the Trainer’ will feature on-court clinics and classroom sessions for approximately 150 coaches in each of the five cities.

These sessions will feature the NBA’s first-ever Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA India-focused training video. The 75 minute DVD, shot in India with local players, includes videos illustrating fundamental skill development, advanced offensive moves, and fitness training. Each coach attending the ‘Train the Trainer’ sessions will receive a copy of the DVD.

A dedicated Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA microsite on will provide all coaches and physical education instructors access to videos, photos and other materials to reinforce proper training technique.

At the center of this programme is the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Skills Challenge, which begins with a City Championship tournament in all five cities. Approximately 2,000 participants between the ages of 10-12 in each city will compete in a series of timed skills tests measuring their abilities in key fundamentals such as dribbling, passing, and shooting. The top five boys and top five girls will qualify to represent their city at the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA National Finals. The boy and girl that complete the skills tests with the best times at the National Finals will be crowned Jr. NBA/Jr. NBA Skills Challenge National Champions and will win a trip to NBA All-Star 2013 in Houston, Texas!

“The Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA program demonstrates the NBA’s commitment to growing basketball at a grassroots level and will reach more children in its second year as one of the league’s most inclusive programs in India,” said Akash Jain, Sr. Director, Development, NBA India. “Using the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA program to educate basketball coaches and instructors is crucial to ensuring quality fundamental skill development in young basketball players across India.”

The first Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA program staged in India was the 2008 Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Hoops School in Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai. In 2011, the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Skills Challenge was held in India for the first time and this year marks the league’s most comprehensive school-based youth program to date.

Schedule of Events

Train the Trainers

  • Delhi - May 26-27, Delhi Public School, RK Puram.
  • Chennai - June 2-3, JJ Stadium.
  • Mumbai - June 6-7, St. Dominic Savio SChool.
  • Pune - June 9-10, PYC Gymkhana.
  • Chandigarh - July 3-4, New Public School

City Skills Challenge

  • Mumbai - June 22, St. Dominic Savio School.
  • Pune - June 24, Deccan Gymkhana.
  • Chennai - June 28, JJ Stadium.
  • Chandigarh - July 6, New Public School.
  • Delhi - July 8, IG Stadium.

May 18, 2012

Revenge of the Old School

Will there finally be a mega showdown at the biggest stage – the NBA Finals – between Tim Duncan & Kevin Garnett, two of the greatest players of the last decade? While the rest of the young bigs around the league suffer to keep up with the pressure and strain of the playoffs, it is the surprise resurgence of the old school that may well decide who lifts the trophy this season.

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May 15, 2012

Underdogs Olympiacos win Euroleague Basketball Tournament in thrilling fashion

Stripped off their budget after a major financial crisis in Greece, Olympiacos surprised everyone – including their own fans, perhaps – to go on and win Europe’s biggest basketball trophy in dramatic fashion at the Sinah Erdem Dome in Istanbul, Turkey on Sunday, May 13th. Georgios Printezis netted a one-handed shot from the side of the rim in the final second to give his side a 62-61 win in the final over the overwhelming favourites from Russia, CSKA Moscow.

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May 14, 2012

NBA Playoffs 2nd Round Preview: Wants vs. Needs

It's the 2nd round of the playoffs: All of the remaining teams want to win the title, but who needs it the most? Let’s preview the four matchups in the second round: while pure talent and team chemistry will continue to be the biggest reasons for winning or losing games, it will be the need for a championship – and not just the want for one – that will carry a squad over the hump.

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May 13, 2012

West Bengal Boys & Chhattisgarh Girls lift 39th Sub-Jr National Basketball Championship in Goa

By the time the whistle rang for the final time on Saturday evening at Salcete, Goa, the assembled basketball fans had witnessed two opposite spectrums of a sports-lovers experience. On one hand was the Chhattisgarh Girls team, steamrolling through competition as the perennial favourites, and not letting down their fans by winning an incredible 11th consecutive title. On the other hand were the West Bengal Boys, a team from a state who has been underwhelming in Indian basketball for far too long, who completed their Cinderella Story with a fairytale run through the tournament and to lift the trophy as underdogs.

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May 8, 2012

49 teams descend to Goa for 39th Sub-Junior Basketball Nationals

They may be young, but years from now, it will be these same young faces who will dominate basketball in India.

The sunny beaches of Goa welcomed 49 under-14 basketball squads from 26 states across India for the 39th National Basketball Championship for Sub-Junior Boys & Girls. The 'Sub-Junior Nationals' are being held from May 6-12, 2012 at the Agnel Charities in Agnel Ashram at Verna, Salcete. The tournament is being organised by the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) and the Goa Basketball Association.

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May 7, 2012

India’s All Star Weekend: Basketball stars shine on courts dedicated to Harish Sharma

If you were an outsider to India’s hoop universe looking for a weekend crash course to everything in Indian Basketball, then the last couple of days in Mumbai were your chance: Over three dozen of the most talented and famous Men and Women Indian basketball players descended to the Mastan YMCA basketball courts in Nagpada for the 3rd Indian Basketball All Star Showcase, held from May 3rd-5th.

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May 3, 2012

Indian Basketball's All Star Showcase to tip off in Mumbai

The third Indian Basketball All Star showcase – a weekend highlighting the talents of India’s finest Men and Women basketball players – is set to be held at the Mastan YMCA Courts in Mumbai from May 3-5, 2012. Like previous years, the event will feature well-known basketball players from all across the country taking part in All Star Games, shooting, and dunking competitions. Maharashtra State Basketball Association (MSBA) will host this year’s events dedicated to the memory of the late CEO of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) Harish Sharma.

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May 1, 2012

Pasha Bains: The DRIVE for Success

Not many people in India – basketball fans or not – would have heard the name ‘Pasha Bains’. But to an entire plethora of basketball-loving Indian fans in North America, Bains may be the finest Indian-origin basketball player ever. While desi hoop fans wait for the day for the first Indian player – born in India or abroad – to play in the NBA, Bains nearly became the first one to do it almost a decade ago.

And now, the Canada-born son of Punjabi parents finds himself in a unique position to fulfil his hoop dream by guiding a future generation of ballers…


The Past

Kirpal Singh Bains and Nirmal Kaur Bains left their hometown decades ago and shifted to the other side of the globe. The Kandola Village in Jalandhar, Punjab is a long way away from the city of Richmond in British Columbia (Canada), both in distance and in culture. But in all their differences, the two lands had a unique similarity. From the open playgrounds and Punjab to the sweaty gyms in Vancouver, there exists a parallel love for basketball. When Pasha Bains first fell in the game, he may not have been aware that his parents’ birth-place if one of India’s basketball hotbeds, but thousands of miles away in British Columbia, he learnt the game in one of Canada’s most basketball-frenzied regions.

Pasha Bains was born in the city of Richmond near Vancouver in June 1980, and while he had an eye in multiple sports, basketball became an early love. “I was a big sports fanatic from an early age,” says Bains, “I used to watch the NBA a lot, and then copy the moves of my favourite NBA players all day long on the courts. I started playing basketball in Grade 4, and by Grade 8, I pretty much stopped playing all other sports.”

That focus on basketball began to pay off in his sparkling High School career, as Bains grew into a star and a local hero playing for the Richmond Colts. Growing into the body of a strong and athletic 6 foot 4 shooting guard, Bains led his side to an undefeated season and the Provincial Championship in 1998, winning Lower Mainland & Provincial MVP award in the process. In grade 11 (1997), he finished as the AAA Tournament leading scorer (34.5 ppg), and then improved on his average a year later to win leading scorer honours again as a Senior the next year (35 ppg).

Bains finished his high school career as the all-time leading scorer in AAA British Columbia (BC) tournament history with 317 points in 12 games, and he still holds seven different AAA Tournament records. In 1998 he was named the Canadian High School Player of the Year and Sport BC's High School Athlete of the Year.

“I was a good athlete, and once I began to enjoy basketball, I focused on it completely,” he says, “It has always been my personality to give my best in everything I’ve got, and that drive boosted me on the court.”

That 'drive’ helped Bains secure a full scholarship to play for Clemson University in South Carolina; he took his talents south to the United States to become a rare Indian face playing Division 1 NCAA basketball, the highest level of college basketball in the world’s most competitive college ball nation.

“Clemson play in the ACC Conference, the toughest conference in D1 Basketball.” Bains explains, “We had to play against some of the strongest basketball programmes in the country, including Duke, North Carolina, Maryland and others. Several of the players I faced back then have since become names in the NBA, including Shane Battier, Steve Blake, Corey Maggette, and Mike Dunleavy Jr.”

Bains recalls the college years as the toughest yet the most rewarding stretch of basketball in his life. He moved from the shooting guard to the point guard position and became a starter for the Clemson Tigers in his second year there.

After two years in Clemson, Bains moved on to Simon Fraser University (SFU) back in British Columbia where he continued the peak stretch of his career, becoming Canada’s leading scorer for two years in a row (2003-04) and holding SFU’s career-scoring average with 24.1 ppg.

Bains finished his University career with a Graduate programme at the University of British Columbia, where he led Canada West in scoring and was named 1st Team All Canada West.

Bains also got a chance to take part in Canada’s National programme, and played for the Canada’s National squad several times from the late 90s till 2005. He represented Canada in the Junior World Championship in Brazil, Dominican Republic, and the World University Games in Korea and Turkey.

It was during this stretch of his prime years, when in 2002, he travelled back to his parents’ homeland, India, for the first time. Bains was back in India with a team from Vancouver of Canadian-Indian basketball players. “That trip back to India has been one of my best memories,” he recalled, “I played a lot of basketball in Punjab: we toured Kot Kapura, Ludhiana, and Jalandhar and went up against several local teams in the area, including the Punjab Police team!”

If the journey to his parents’ home helped him get a better understanding of his past, it was another step back in his own home in Canada that helped shape his future. Bains became involved with training and teaching basketball camps for young players as early as 2002, and gained experience running camps both in Clemson and in SFU.
By 2004, he founded DRIVE Basketball, a basketball camp in his birth-town of Richmond, along with fellow coach Chad Clifford.

The Present

The camp became an academy, and today, DRIVE Basketball serves around 1500 basketball-loving kids between the ages of 4-17 out of Richmond. Bains is the founder and of the nine coaches who work at the academy, which has grown rapidly since its inception just eight years ago. But it hasn’t just been a growth in numbers – over the years, DRIVE has produced several talented players, several of them of Indian-origin like himself. The Academy runs 4-5 days a week all year round, during which Bains and the other coaches lead the young players through basketball training, strength and conditioning, and playing regularly in a tough and competitive schedule.

“We have some really, really good players at the Academy,” he says, “There are also definitely a lot of talented Indian players here from around Canada. Where I grew up, basketball has been one of the favourite games for Indian kids. Even when I was in High School, some of the best athletes around me were Indian. Basketball was always big in the Vancouver area for the Indian community, and it is only getting bigger. The same goes for the Indian community in other parts of Canada, like Calgary and Toronto.”

Bains’ success on the court, like the success of other Indian-origin players in Canada and the US, has helped to debunk the myth that Indians weren’t well-suited in their built and athletes to be world-class basketball players. Now, along with his work with his DRIVE Academy, Bains is also an active coach with the Five Star Basketball Camp in Pittsburgh. In the course of his career as a player and a coach, he has received several accolades, including being noted amongst the ‘Top 10 Richmondites’ in the Richmond News 25th Anniversary edition, named on the list of ‘100 South Asians Making A Difference in BC” by the Vancouver Sun, and also named the ‘Best Player of the 90s’ in the same publication’s AAA BC Tournament Special. In 2009, he was named #1 Richmond's All-Athlete & #1 Best Coach and named to the list of "Top 30 under 30" by the Richmond Review.

As a young baller, Bains says that he looked up to Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Isiah Thomas in the NBA as basketball role models. The new generation of kids can look up to the new stars – the LeBrons, the Kobes, and the Durants – and in Pasha Bains they have a local legend to look up to as well, one who reached to the cusp of the biggest stage. “In Vancouver, we don’t really look at race too much,” he says, “Indians here, like others, like to play ball, too, and are good at it. But it’s important to have role models, and I want the kids to believe that they can have a successful career too.”

Bains speaks proudly of female Indian player Harleen Sidhu, whose training at DRIVE helped her get to an NCAA programme in Nebraska. The current crop of young athletes at DRIVE include several young Indian players and non-Indian players with a lot of potential, including Manroop Claire, Mindy Minhas, Jadon Cohee, Tristan Etienne, and Luka Zaharejevic.

The Future

If Bains has been the brightest success story of an Indian-origin basketball player out of British Columbia in the past, than the future is more than likely to belong to DRIVE’s young star Manroop Clair. The 17-year-old 6’2” guard has had an explosive rise to the top and has quickly become one of the top ranked Canadian prospects. Also of Indian-origin, Clair has earned great praise for his play, and of course, from Coach Bains himself.

“He's still got one more year of Prep before College so this coming year is very important,” said Bains, “His skill level continues to improve and he has become a much better player after spending a year at Huntington Prep. His main focus is gaining weight and size because his frame is still thin. I think he will be a very effective College player because he is so talented.”

While Clair continues to improve, there are a couple other Canadian-Indians who have already made a big name for themselves. Toronto-born brothers Sim and Tanveer Bhullar – son of Punjabi immigrants in Canada – are attracting a lot of attention because the siblings, aged 19 and 17, have grown to giant heights of 7 foot 5 inches and 7 foot 3 inches respectfully. Sim currently plays for New Mexico State University and the New York Times in a recent article mentioned that he is poised to become the world’s first prominent Men’s basketball player of Indian descent. Younger brother Tanveer is currently at Huntington Prep and continuing to add skills to his tantalising giant size.

Bains believes that the first Indian or Indian-origin players in the NBA would be someone around the lines of the Bhullars, players who have been blessed with giant size. “Sim Bhullar definitely has a chance of making the NBA,” says Bains, “At first, it will perhaps be easier for a big player to make it and more difficult for guards. Indians will probably see our version of ‘Yao Ming’ making it to the league before we see our own ‘Jeremy Lin’.”

Bains is also aware of India’s own giant teen basketball star, the 16-year-old 7 foot 1 Satnam Singh Bhamara, who has made his way out of a tiny village in Punjab to get scholarship for education and basketball training at the IMG Basketball Academy in Florida. “His ascent has been very impressive, because Indian players back in India don’t have as much exposure as players here,” says Bains, “I think it’s a good sign and I hope that it means more and more people in India are taking up the game of basketball.”


And so we wait for the day that the first Indian player, from India, Canada, the US, England or from anywhere else from our internationally spread family of desis makes it to the biggest stage. But before that day comes, let’s remember the one who nearly reached the summit himself, and is now in the process of guiding others to the top. As a player, Pasha Bains scaled great heights, heights unimaginable for Indian players before him. Now, as a coach, he is in a unique position to look forward and help future players build that DRIVE, that drive to follow his footsteps, and that drive to even surpass them.